Bullying: Share the Blame


NOTE: This doesn’t go for all that work in the education system. There are many kick-ass teachers and administrators that do a great job and I appreciate them. 

Students today face so many challenges in school.

They must deal with decades old textbooks (if they have them at all), disgruntled teachers (some not all), peer pressure and the everyday ordeal of being a kid in 2018.

Now the biggest challenge they face is being bullied. Sometimes it’s whether to join in with the rest of the crowd or risk being the one getting the negative attention.

We’ve all seen what happens when it gets to be too much for these students. It’s become so the norm that children today practice active shooter drills like they would a fire or a tornado drill.

But what if someone had stepped up to the plate before then? Like a responsible adult should.

How is it that school systems can set aside time to train teachers to be human shields in an active shooter situation but can’t find the time to teach them skills to look for the signs of students being bullied, bullying on the playground or unhealthy peer interactions?

So, what do you say to the child that has been kicked and stomped in the locker room after those who did it don’t receive any real consequences?

What do you say to the kid being cyberbullied online and it continues into the classroom?

What do you say to the kid that is being talked about by other classmates, who tells the teacher and is told to “Just go play. Don’t worry about it” or “I’m not dealing with that today,”?

Eventually it boils over and that kid decides to strike first instead of being struck. Then what? Who do you really blame in this situation?  Punishing that child doesn’t help. It just shows that you as an administrator don’t care about their wellbeing but instead their actions.

Dare I compare it to punishing the victim of a crime for putting themselves in that situation.

I’m sure, as an administrator or teacher, if it were your child you’d feel a different way.

Perhaps alternatives can be reached.

Surely if you can come up with a plan for two unarmed teachers to rush a gunman, getting two elementary children to agree to disagree can’t be as hard, right?

I mean that was the purpose of going to school for how many ever years, right?

Let’s try something.

Imagine if that teacher helped students understand each other, their beliefs and viewpoints instead of dismissing them.

Imagine if that administrator stopped giving out suspensions and looked at the root of what caused the incidents that led to said suspensions or disciplinary actions.

Imagine if our academic leaders focused just as much on making holistically healthy, productive children instead of making the grade on standardized testing and keeping federal funding.

Or perhaps others should just replace those that can’t bring about results.

Just Imagine.

I’m Just Saying.


Chronicles of a Single Mom #17 – My Child the Teacher


Anyone who’s had the opportunity of parenthood in some way or another will tell you that it’s a learning experience.
Unlike schools and universities, however, there’s no manual and the life-long experiment that you signed up for doesn’t always go as planned. As a matter fact, 99 percent of the time it ends up the polar opposite than what you expected.
Fortunately, there are moments where little Crayola and Play-Doh covered nuggets are dropped in your path and they’re not as painful as stepping on a Lego at 1 a.m. in the morning.
I had one of those moments Saturday.
After coming back home from doing some work-related things, I’m surprised with the following scene. Picture it: There’s a beach towel in my hallway complete with an open umbrella, two twinning baby dolls and a beach bag. Throw in a 9-year-old girl with a sunhat, shades, scarf, sandals and a sundress.
So here’s the story: Apparently she was sick of the weather created by Hurricane Matthew so she decided to go to the beach. (I didn’t’ ask which one.) Instead of dealing with the all-day rain, flash flood warnings and brief power outage she decided she’d create the situation she wanted to be in.
After giving it some thought, the lesson she was teaching hit me. Who knows if it was meant for me specifically but here’s what I took from it.
We, as adults, are often placed in situations that we don’t necessarily want to be in but how often do we actually try to change our outlook? Do we wallow in our displeasure and unhappiness or do we take what we’re given and go to the beach? I don’t mean that we have to go on a physical trip but do we set up our metaphoric Tiki Bar and enjoy things in spite of whatever’s going on?
I’m guilty of letting some circumstances overpower my positive mindset but I’m deciding to not let that happen again. I won’t be spreading any towels out in the hallway but I’ll try and imagine a brighter outcome for anything that comes my way.
Who knew that the person I was tasked with teaching about life would turn right around and do the same thing for me?
Scary, right?
I do agree with her on one thing.
There’s nothing like a sunny getaway in the midst of a storm.
Especially when it promises fruity drinks and a beautiful view.
I’m Just Saying.

Chronicles of a Single Mom #15 – Dear New Teacher


A letter to my kid’s new teacher:

Dear New Teacher,

Welcome back to a school year that is destined to be filled with fun, appreciation and an overall awesome time.

Okay. Maybe I’m just describing the first day back to school for me after I dropped my fourth-grader off. I’m not sure.

What I am sure of is that my fourth-grader will talk at times she isn’t supposed to, that the social lives of fourth-graders may derail your lessons plans and that it may get even harder for you to motivate yourself to get to school in the mornings than it is for me to get her there.

With all that in mind, know early on that I appreciate you taking on the not-so-quiet storm that is my child for a few hours.

I appreciate you not taking it out on the kids that you don’t get paid for the many roles you may play during the school year, including mediator, secret keeper, counselor, superhero and, at times, the villain.

I hope that you’re just as invested in my child’s future as I am. I’ve got to tell you; the price is pretty high after all this time. I do hear the future payouts are worth it, though.

It is my goal to help you as much as I can. While I may not be able (or want) to commit to every field trip, I’m sure we can work something out when it comes to snacks, Kleenex and class parties. Maybe a couple dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts in exchange for skipping my name on the chaperone list a time or two. Or a nice Christmas gift for booking the free field trip instead of the $24 option.

Just something to think about.

For what it’s worth, I look forward to picking my kid up in the future and hearing about the awesome day she had and the many new things she learned. I look forward to hanging new art work around the house, posting academic achievement awards and covering up the calorie chart on the refrigerator with exemplary grades from tests and class assignments.

Most of all, I look forward to getting work done without being called every five minutes. Being able to accomplish more than half of my to-do list both effectively and efficiently.

I even look forward to taking some much-needed down time.

Or maybe even a nap.

Either way, I already appreciate all that you’ll do.


I’m Just Saying.

Chronicles of a Single Mom #11 – The EOG Jitters


We’ve hit another milestone on this journey called Parenthood.
As a third grader, my daughter took her first End of Grade test this month.
Let me tell you… I wasn’t ready.
I couldn’t handle it.
Yeah I know I didn’t actually take the test but with all the anxiety I felt about her taking it I may as well have been in the seat beside her.
As a parent you wonder if you’ve done everything you could to help your child succeed.
I was that parent attending the Saturday morning information sessions so I could use the resources given to make sure my kid was ready.
I made it my duty to make sure I picked her up early enough for her to have plenty of time to relax when she got home. I cooked dinner in advance so she didn’t have to worry about waiting to eat. She even went to bed an hour earlier, even though she didn’t have to go to sleep.
There were motivational talks, encouraging words, a poster of support, and a homemade breakfast each morning.
She wore comfortable clothing and packed a hoodie in the event she got cold while sitting still for 180 minutes.
Any and everything to make my little scholar confidant and comfortable so she can do her best.
What I forgot to do was take something myself.
I was a ball of nerves the entire time. Before she could close the car door after picking her up, I would ask how the test went. How did she feel about it? Was it hard? What did she think? Trying to get a feel for how she did without adding any pressure.
Yeah I know that the state’s standardized tests don’t define her as a student but of course I’d want her to do her best, whether it’s testing to pass her current grade or coloring in the lines for a prize.
Which is why I lost sleep and drove myself insane worrying about how she’d do on the test.
The great thing about the entire ordeal is that I’ve learned she actually listens to what I say (for now).
While I was in need of a Xanax, she had already made up her mind that she’d do her very best. She was cool, calm and collected. Facing a challenge head on and loving it.
Which is why she will continue to excel when she heads to fourth grade in the fall.
Not me though.
I’m making a bee line to something that will help take the edge off while I remind myself that I’ve already earned my diploma and they can’t take it back.
I’m Just Saying.